A message from your AFA PBS Committee
There have been a few recent changes with PBS with more to come! We’ll talk more about that in a moment but first we’ll cover the basics. Please read along and hopefully you’ll have a better understanding of our bidding program.
First, a reminder that the PBS Committee is here to help you specifically with your bids. We aren’t trained to assist you with questions unrelated to bidding such as IMD help, Crew Access/trading questions, vacation trading, payroll, etc. Those types of questions are best addressed to the Alaska IT desk, your payroll analyst or your Local AFA Scheduling Committee. Their names and email addresses are always on the PBS Info Page as part of the monthly pairing information for your base.
The program reads your bids from the top down
This is one of the most important things people need to remember when bidding. If you want to ‘Prefer Off’ certain days or want to ‘Avoid’ something for the entire month then you need to say so at the top of your bid, at minimum prior to your first ‘Award’ line. Whatever is most important to you (days off, avoiding redeyes, etc.) should come first. Certain lines such as Waive rules or Set Conditions will automatically be at the beginning and can’t be moved. Prefer Off and Avoid lines entered after Award lines do not apply to the previous Award lines…since the program reads the bid from the top down those lines will not yet apply. If you’re bidding for a pairing that would violate any of your Prefer Off or Avoid lines, then the pairing would have to be requested higher in the bid than those lines.
If you enter anything in your ‘Current’ bid, even one line, then your ‘Current’ bid is used to build your schedule
The program doesn’t skip from Current bid to Default bid…it’s one or the other. If you are intending for the program to read your Default bid, check to make sure you haven’t accidentally entered any line in your ‘Current’ bid. Making this mistake is not considered a valid bid protest.
A line preceded by a number was a line entered by you…lines without a preceding number are supposed to be there and are auto-generated by the program. See the PBS Info Page for an example.
Do you prefer to be on Reserve?
If so, you must begin your bid with ‘Start Reserve Bid’. Then enter ‘Start Reserve’ and follow that with your reserve preferences. With so much growth lately, you may be surprised that you held a line of pairings and didn’t want one. The program tries to build everyone a line of pairings if mathematically possible. If you prefer Reserve, you must start your bid with ‘Start Reserve Bid’.
On the cusp of Lineholder and Reserve? You may want to ‘Waive’!
Many of you that are on the cusp of lineholder and reserve may not realize you might need to ‘waive’ certain contractual rules in order to hold a line of pairings.
Waiving down to ‘Allow 24 Hours Off in 7 Days’ and waiving the ‘No Same-Day Pairings’ rule could be the only way for you to hold a line. If you see others junior to you holding a line and you didn’t, it’s quite possible it was only because they ‘waived’ those rules.
Check your bidding number on the seniority list on the Inflight webpage at the beginning of each month. Then check the PBS Info Page for the number of reserve lines in your base for the next month. This will help you to determine how close you are to still being on reserve. If you’re close to the bottom lineholders then you need to strongly consider entering those ‘waive’ lines if you hope to be awarded a line of pairings instead of reserve.
Layover rest is not the same as ‘legal rest’
For bidding purposes, your ’48 Hours Off in 7 Days’ rest (or 24 Hours Off in 7 Days if ‘waiving’) must be at your domicile, not on a layover. A layover does not count as contractual rest during line construction. You are able to waive this rule during trading on Crew Access, allowing layover rest to count towards CFR’s, but not during bidding.
Prefer Off ‘Day of Week’ bids are no longer ‘forgettable’
Maybe people don’t use ‘Forget’ and ‘Redo From’…if you don’t use these then you don’t need to worry about this.
If you still wish to forget a bid involving a day off, you’ll need to use ‘Prefer Off’ by using a specific date. Instead of saying ‘Prefer Off Fridays’ with the plan to later forget that line, you’d need to ask for individual Fridays off by date. You will now be able to later ‘forget’ that line.
Are you changing bases this month?
With so much hiring lately there is a lot of movement between bases. Your default bid will not carry over when you change bases. You’ll have to re-enter your default bid. Print it out before the move so you have something to help you re-enter your old default bid when next month’s bidding in your new base opens.
Our most frequent question during Bid Protest
Why didn’t I hold a line while others below me did? Did those people below you have vacation TFP? A carry-in trip? This gives them TFP credit that you didn’t have when it tried to build them a line. Were you illegal for a trip on the 1st of the month due to your flying the end of the previous month? Maybe that small reason prevented you from holding a line since you couldn’t take a pairing on the 1st or 2nd. Did they ‘waive’ the ‘No Same Day Pairings’ rule and/or allow for ’24 Hours Off in 7 Days’ and you didn’t? Did they enter the waive for the ‘Co-Term’ rule if in LAX? Did they allow for ‘4k’ flying and you didn’t?
Trust us in that the program will always try and build you a line if mathematically possible when taking your legalities and bids into consideration. It wants to build everyone a line in order to ‘cover’ the operation and staff every pairing if possible.
Line awards and Coverage Reports are now posted on the Inflight webpage
For the line awards, visit the Inflight website > Schedule and Bidding > Line Bidding > PBS Awards. The line awards are now showing ‘color coding’…different colors for normally awarded pairings, Coverage pairings, normally awarded Reserve days and Coverage Reserve days.
A recent program update made the following changes to PBS:
Navtech is now ‘NAVBLUE’. They were purchased last year by Airbus and they’ve chosen to change the name of their new subsidiary.
Any mention of Arctic number has been replaced with Employee number. This refers to your 7-digit PeopleSoft number.
Your ‘Calendar’ no longer shows pilot-related FAR 117 numbers. Also, most pilot-related information has been removed from your personal information
New terminology for some ‘Set Condition’ bids makes them clearer. For example: The previous ‘Minimum Days Off’ is now ‘Minimum Days Off In A Row’, ‘Maximum Days On’ is now ‘Maximum Days On In A Row’ and ‘Consecutive Days Off’ is now ‘Consecutive Days Off In A Row’.
Color coding of line awards on the posted line awards. Different colors designate pairings (or on-call days) if they were assigned during the normal award process or were assigned as a ‘Coverage’ pairing or reserve day.
Welcome to Adam Clarey!
Adam was selected by the MEC as a new member of the Joint PBS Committee! He is currently Seattle-based and has been a Flight Attendant for 13 years. Other AFA joint committee members include Rebecca Asbell (PDXFA) and Stephen Poynter (SEAFA). Alaska Airlines joint committee members are Inflight Crew Planners Kelly Yeager and Sabrina Blevins.
Upcoming PBS Changes
There’s been some confusion between the changes to our crew tracking program (Crew Access/JCE) and upcoming changes to PBS. These are of course two separate programs. Here’s what’s changing with Navblue’s PBS program:
We recently went to a new look to the Inflight webpage…that’s called a ‘user interface’. Navblue is transitioning all of their customers to a new ‘user interface’ by the end of 2017. The new Navblue website will have the same internal programming but it’s how you interact with the program that will be changing. It’s a whole new ‘look’ but after taking some time with it we believe everyone will grow accustomed to it and maybe even like it better than the current version.
Navblue’s new user interface was designed to be more tablet-friendly. It also allows you to work on your bids when off-line, saving your work to submit later when you’re back on the Internet. It utilizes ‘filtering’ when searching for pairings and allows easy transferring of desired pairing numbers onto your bid. Color-coding of bid lines will help you see more clearly the structure of your bids…and will hopefully make it more obvious when a bid is in the wrong place!
We anticipate introducing the new Navblue website to everyone in mid-July after bidding is finished. You’ll be able to use both the current and the new websites for a three month period and then the ‘off switch’ will be flipped on the current version. By mid-October we plan on using only the new website going forward.
We’re not going to sugar-coat it…it is definitely different and you will need to allow some time to learn how to use the new PBS website. Our best advice is that you don’t wait until the last minute! During the three-month transition period use the new program as often as you can. Changes made to your bid on either the current or new version will be reflected on both websites. Whichever version you last submit your bids on will be the bid that is processed. If you’re struggling, make sure your default bid will carry you until you feel more proficient in using the new website. There will be training support to help you through this transition…PowerPoint presentations, videos and live help at your base.
Thanks for reading! For help with your bidding, email PBS.QA@alaskaair.com